A strong field of professional men and women will make the trip down to Baja California for IRONMAN 70.3 Los Cabos this weekend, as a number of big names look to secure their 2024 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship qualification slots early.
American star Jason West will return from back-to-back short course races to take on a tough field this Sunday, whilst Canadian Paula Findlay leads the way in the women’s race, with the PTO World #6 chasing a third middle-distance win this season.
In our preview piece below, you can find all the details you need on the start times, tracking information and who to watch out for in the men and women’s pro fields this weekend.
Start time and how to follow
The race will take place on Sunday November 5. In Pamilla Beach, the professional men will start first, with the gun going off at 06:20 local time. This corresponds to 14:20 in the UK, 15:20 in Central Europe and 09:20 on the East Coast.
The women’s race in Mexico will commence five minutes later at 06:25 local time. This corresponds to 14:25 in the UK, 15:25 in Central Europe and 09:25 on the East Coast.
Unfortunately, there is no live stream this weekend in Mexico. However, the ever reliable IRONMAN Tracker App is a useful companion and will provide up-to-date splits throughout the swim, bike and run for the professional and age group races.
In the professional men’s race, PTO World #3 West is the overwhelming favourite, having only missed out on the podium twice this season over the middle distance, at the PTO Tour European Open and the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.
Coming off the back of consecutive short course races at the World Triathlon Cups in Rome and Brasilia, the latter of which saw him finish fifth over the Olympic distance, West will line up for what looks set to be his final race of the season in Baja California.
Fellow Americans Trevor Foley and Marc Dubrick will be among the favourites for the remaining podium spots in Los Cabos. Dubrick may be the only athlete who feasibly can put West under pressure over the swim and the bike, having beaten his fellow countryman in San Francisco when he won the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon.
Foley, a phenomenal runner, has finished on the podium at four domestic middle distance races this year and pushed West close at IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta last season. However, if he intends to go head-to-head with West on the run, he will have to have the best swim of his season.
Finally, Canadian Jackson Laundry, the PTO World #29, has picked up five domestic middle distance podiums this season, but similarly to Foley, has failed to make the same mark in the bigger races.
A DNF at the PTO Tour US Open and 26th at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship were both far from what the 30 year old would have hoped for at the start of the year. With one final shot at a world class athlete in West this weekend, Laundry will have his eye on getting a small slice of redemption.
In the women’s field, Findlay is also a clear favourite, but will be up against a strong domestic field with the addition of Spaniard PTO World #19 Sara Perez Sala on the start list. Seventh at the PTO Tour Asian Open, Perez Sala is one of the main podium contenders alongside the Canadian.
Fifth at the PTO Tour European Open and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, Findlay has had a very consistent season and along with her World Cycling Time Trial Championship exploits, has a lot of high points to look back on in 2023.
With a chance to pick up another win in Los Cabos, expect Findlay to be ruthless over the swim and bike. Whilst Perez Sala might pose a threat in the water, Findlay’s cycling prowess should be enough to see her enter T2 with a clear gap.
Finally, Jackie Hering is the best of the Americans on the start list, with the PTO World #32 the obvious podium pick alongside Findlay and Perez Sala. Second at IRONMAN 70.3 Michigan and third at IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta in September, Hering is one of the fastest runners in the field.
Prize Money: What’s on the line?
The prize purse on offer this weekend is $25,000 – with the winner collecting a $4,000 share of that total.
In addition to money, there will be a total of four qualifying slots for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, with two for the women and two for the men in Taupo next year.
The total funds will be paid six-deep, as follows:
Following the recent significant changes to the PTO’s World Ranking System, the status of a race will play a notable part towards the ranking points that an athlete can earn, with those points determining the year-end world ranking position and thus, potentially, a share of the $2million bonus, which will now be shared by the top-50 athletes, rather than the top-100 of previous years.